The Minato ward (also known as Minato City or Minato-ku) in Tokyo is one of the most international wards in the city, with many foreigners living here. One of the reasons might be because more than half of the foreign embassies in Japan are located inside Minato City. Between January and March every year, an event is held to connect the many different countries and cultures of the world. This is “Minato City World Festival”!
For this event, you need a passport! …not your real one, but a special “passport” that can pick up at the Minato Ward Office (Kuyakusho), the Minato City Tourism Information Center, the Minato City libraries, most hotels, and also starting this year: at shopping streets inside Minato City. Let’s go!
Once you got your passport, you can participate in the following events!
① “Minato City Stamp Rally of Embassies and Diplomatic Missions” January 16 – March 24
In this event, you use a “passport” to collect stamps at embassies in Minato City. If you gather 5 or more stamps, you can participate in a lottery at the “Minato City World Carnival” (held on March 24).
One thing that makes this event special is that you can enter some of the embassies. Usually, most embassies aren’t open to the public. This event is your chance to take a glimpse of different countries and cultures! Because visiting times and conditions vary depending on the embassy, please check the English information inside your passport!
② “Minato City Shopping Street World Card Rally” January 16 – March 24
Every time you shop or eat at one of the 90 participating shops listed in your “passport”, you receive a “World Card”, each introducing one of 82 countries around the world.
When you collect 5 cards, you can participate in the lottery on March 24 at the “Minato City World Carnival”.
It’s a great opportunity to discover shops loved by locals that maybe aren’t listed in guidebooks for tourists!
③ “Minato City World Carnival” March 24 (Sun)
For this final event, booths from various countries gather around Tokyo Tower. In addition to sightseeing information, you get the change to learn something about the culture and history of different countries. Of course – since hey, we are in Japan! – there is great food, too. Why not try to play an exotic musical instrument or put on a traditional costume! Maybe you will even find a booth from your country.
A highlight of the “Minato City World Carnival” is the lottery. Depending on how many stamps you have collected at the embassies, you can try your luck (5 stamps = 1 time). At the lottery, you can win different, fun prizes. You can also take part depending on how many “world cards” you have collected through making purchases at certain shops or dining at restaurants (5 cards = 1 time).